US State Department: Georgia seized record number of drugs

The US State Department report highlighted Georgia’s progress in combating drug trafficking. Photo by, 04 Mar 2016 - 16:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s tougher stance on drugs led to the country seizing a record number of drugs being trafficked through the country, claims the latest report by the United States on global efforts to reduce illicit drug production, trafficking and use.

On March 2 the US State Department released its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2016 (INCSR), which outlined Georgia seized a record 2.8 tonnes of liquid heroin in 2014 and alongside several significant drug busts in 2015, the country successfully continued its anti-drug efforts.

The INCSR is an annual report describing the efforts of more than 80 foreign countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade. 

The recent survey mainly revealed figures relating to 2015 but also used data obtained in 2014.

The Georgia section of the report stated:

  • In 2014 Georgia seized a record 2.8 tonnes of liquid heroin;
  • Significant seizures of illicit drugs through the first ten months of 2015 included a 37 kilogram (kg) seizure of cocaine and a 60 kg seizure of amphetamine;
  • In an effort to improve tracking of drug trafficking routes, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia created a special analytical unit in December 2014, which contributed to multiple seizures of cocaine at the Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport; 
  • In 2015, the US continued to strengthen counter-narcotics institutional capacity through operational and training efforts for both law enforcement officers and prosecutors. Specific assistance included further training for the Counter-narcotics Division of the Central Criminal Police, including in anti-money laundering techniques, analytical tradecraft and interdiction, as well as expanded cooperation with Georgia’s Customs service;
  • The US completed a two-year project to develop an interagency counter-narcotics canine unit at Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli International Airport in September 2015.
  • 2015 highlights included the introduction of two more Georgian police attachés, stationed in Germany and Spain, with plans to deploy attachés in the near future to Poland, Kazakhstan and Italy;
  • Georgia continues to implement its National Drug Strategy and Action Plan and focused its 2015 program on juveniles with positive public messaging promoting a healthy lifestyle; and
  • Georgia established a National Drug Monitoring Centre in November and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction to promote information sharing between the two institutions.

The US State Department, using figures provided by Georgian non-governmental organisations, said there was an estimated number of 50,000 injecting drug users in Georgia out of a population of 3.7 million.

The US State Department noted Georgia used the US-developed curriculum to support training and professionalisation of its workforce. 

In a final note the US urged Georgia to continue its efforts against drug trafficking and promised to continue offering support in the direction.